Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Who Put a Marble in My Shoe?

Dumb stupid metatarsals. 

You know, sometimes I feel as though I was meant to remain fat and stuck on the couch for the rest of my life.


In spite of my nasty osteoarthritis in my right knee, AND the trochanteric bursitis in my right hip, I've been making an effort to get this old body of mine moving.

I even had a vision of myself in hiking boots while I was in church.

So I've been doing a very limited amount of walking in my perfectly fitting and brand new hiking boots, and an excessive amount of patting myself on the back and bragging about it all. But I gradually noticed that my left foot felt as though I was walking on a marble. The decidedly sharp pain in my foot was only made worse over the past weekend by doing even more walking, some of it being in soft sand which was excruciating.

So I limped over to see my family practice doctor, who ordered an x-ray but felt that my problem was probably something called metatarsalgia; this list of symptoms from the Mayo Clinic website:

  • Sharp, aching or burning pain in the ball of your foot — the part of the sole just behind your toes
  • Pain in the area around your second, third or fourth toes — or, only near your big toe
  • Pain that gets worse when you stand, walk or run and improves when you rest
  • Sharp or shooting pain in your toes
  • Numbness or tingling in your toes
  • Pain that worsens when you flex your feet
  • A feeling in your feet as if you're walking with a pebble in your shoe
  • Increased pain when you're walking barefoot, especially on a hard surface

Yup. Sounds about right. Mayo explains metatarsalgia this way:

In each foot, five metatarsal bones run from your arch to your toe joints. The first metatarsal is shorter and thicker than the other four bones, which are usually similar in size. During the push-off phase when you walk, jump or run, your body weight is transferred to your toes and metatarsals. The first and second metatarsal bones take the brunt of this force. Most metatarsal problems develop when something changes in the way your foot normally works (mechanics), affecting how your weight is distributed. This can put excess pressure on the metatarsals, leading to inflammation and pain, especially in the metatarsal heads — the rounded ends of the bones that connect with your toe bones.

Good grief. It's painful enough that I can't even think of another walk of ANY length. 

Wah!! And just when my energy levels were returning!

I've been advised to take whatever NSAID works best for me, to occasionally apply ice, to get myself a shoe insert that contains a metatarsal pad, and have been given a referral to a podiatrist. 

And was told to rest my foot. Yeah.... I'm good at that.....

I'm not looking forward to breaking the news to Lulu that our walks with be put on hold for awhile. Maybe I can placate her with promises of more rides in Goldie; and maybe I can come up with some other kind of exercise that doesn't stress my finicky metatarsals. Like my aqua yoga class or my tai chi videos. 

Don't worry, Lulu and my lovely blue hiking boots. We'll be out and about in no time.  


Kelly said...

Always hard to decide: do you want to hurt from exercising, or hurt from not exercising?

annie said...

I just recently saw a podiatrist for the exact same problem. She x-rayed the feet, and although I do have the beginnings of arthitis in my toes (I have pain if I do lots of walking), there was nothing that she could see in my problem area.

She told me because of sjogren's and fibromyalgia, it could very well be autoimmune, dealing with pain in tendons, ligaments, and small muscles. There isn't much to be done except soak in warm water, massage and something else? which I didn't get (brain fog!) But you're description is my problem exactly! Thank you.